The island has been divided into two parts politically for centuries: West Timor, which was known as Dutch Timor from the 1800s until 1949 when it became Indonesian Timor, a part of the nation of Indonesia which was formed from the old Dutch East Indies.
The other political division on the island is the independent country of East Timor which was known as Portuguese Timor from 1596 until 1975. Since 1975, after the Indonesian invasion, the two political regions on Timor island were known as simply East and West Timor. In 2002, East Timor achieved internationally recognized independence, one of the world's newest nations.
To the south and southeast of Timor is the country of Australia. To the northwest of Timor is the island of Sulawesi. To the west of Timor is the island of Sumba. To the west-northwest of Timor is the island of Flores.
On Timor there was for a long time a volcanic peak, whose perpetual fires served as a lighthouse to mariners navigating those seas. But in the year 1637 there took place a great eruption of the mountain, which ended in its being gobbled up whole and entire, leaving nothing behind it but a lake, in which its fires were quenched, and which now occupies its place.
In Roman mythology, the god Timor was equivalent to the Greek Phobos.